Your Voice

Over the past three years we’ve rapidly transformed as an organisation. We’ve waved goodbye to our old brand, reshaping the way we engage with you. We’ve reinvigorated the way we represent you during your studies. And we’ve grown our services, launching the Union Shop, The Packhorse and our Give It A Go programme.

Now we’re transforming the core tenants of our existence, reviewing our democratic structures and the culture underpinning them, with a goal of ensuring you are at the heart of every decision we make. From the campaigns we run to the look and feel of Summer Ball, we’re planning on shaking up the status quo and giving you more of a say on more things than ever before.

Essentially it all boils down to one thing. The Students’ Union belongs to the students at Royal Holloway and we want to make sure that students make all the big calls.


So what’s the plan?

In August we appointed an independent, external consultant to conduct a full review and he’s now delivered his findings to the Union’s senior leadership team. These have been distilled down to five big ideas which we now need feedback on before the full suite of changes go out to a referendum in the Summer Term.

You can give us your thoughts by clicking on each idea below and completing the short survey or alternatively we’ll be out and about on campus between 18-20 March with a bunch of goodies. We’re also hosting an open meeting on Monday 18 March between 13:00-14:00 in Medicine where you can come down and ask us any questions you may have about the proposed changes.



Our Big Ideas.

Central to our manifesto for change are five big ideas that will radically change the way in which we function. Have a look at each idea, take the time to understand the impact it will have on the Students’ Union and then let us know what you think.

Merge VP Sport and VP Societies & Media

Combine the two student group Vice President roles into one, Vice President Sports & Societies, to lead integrated support for sports clubs, societies and other student opportunities. This would enable the SU to add another new professional staff role to the team supporting clubs and societies, increasing our capacity for key administrative tasks and more.

It’s important to know that this change is also directly linked to our idea below around the introduction of student executives. This will see the creation of a Clubs, Societies and Opportunities Executive who will have overall responsibility of grant funding, increasing the transparency of this process and ensuring more students are having a direct say on the way grants are allocated.

Note that this change will only affect the 20/21 Sabbatical Officers and not the recently elected 19/20 officers.

Give feedback

Creation of policy inquiries

Abolish General Meetings and create ‘Policy Inquires’. These will enable students to direct what the SU should do about a complex, or controversial issue. This will involve quality research, deliberation and consultation, and may well involve a referendum at the end.

Give feedback

Replace councils with Student Executives

Replace our current Councils with three Student Executives to look after Education; Wellbeing, Community and Diversity; and Clubs, Societies and Opportunities. These will help student leaders collaborate more effectively on key issues, and will make sure Officers directly engage with a wider range of students when planning their work.

Give feedback

Creation of Service Development Groups

The creation of ‘Service Development Groups’ to steer our work in key commercial areas like our venues, entertainments programme and the shop. These will bring together recruited students, permanent staff, and student staff in partnership to shape what we provide and how we provide it.

Give feedback

Introduce funded Student Collectives

The introduction of funded ‘Student Collectives’ for groups of underrepresented students with specific needs (e.g. postgraduates) to increase our engagement with these students and ensure their voices are always heard.

Give feedback

An Overview.

In May you’ll get to vote on the new arrangements, but in summary we are proposing:

  1. Changing the full time Sabbatical Officer structure to a President and three Vice Presidents, spending slightly less on officers so we can spend more on direct support for students and student groups. More information on this below.
  2. Replacing our current Councils with three Student Executives to look after Education; Wellbeing, Community and Diversity; and Clubs, Societies and Opportunities. These will help student leaders collaborate more effectively on key issues, and will make sure Officers directly engage with a wider range of students when planning their work.
  3. Introducing the role of School Reps, making them key members of the new Education Executive, and supporting them to effectively lead activities in their School.
  4. Abolish General Meetings, creating ‘Policy Inquires’ that will enable students to direct what the SU should do about a complex, or controversial issue. This will involve quality research, deliberation and consultation, and may well involve a referendum at the end.
  5. Creating something called ‘Contemporary Resolution’ ballots, so when there’s an urgent, simple or clear cut issue, students get to vote on the SU’s approach. These will only be used where something may only be relevant for a limited time period.
  6. Creating ‘Service Development Groups’ to steer our work in key commercial areas like our venues, entertainments programme and the shop. These will bring together recruited students, permanent staff, and student staff in partnership to shape what we provide and how we provide it.
  7. Creating funded ‘Student Collectives’ for groups of underrepresented students with specific needs (i.e. postgraduates) to increase our engagement with these students.


And we’re proposing to change the way we support clubs and societies.

Right now we ask two elected Sabbatical Officers (who were students last year) to provide much of the administrative support to student clubs and societies. And we know from every Rate Your Union survey that the structure isn’t working. So we’re proposing to change that too:

  1. Combining two of the Vice President roles into one – Vice President Sports & Societies, to lead integrated support for sports clubs, societies and other student opportunities.
  2. Adding another new professional staff role to the team supporting clubs and societies, to increase our capacity for key administrative tasks (i.e. room bookings and financial payments), as well as bigger projects like event support and group development.
  3. Designating the SU President the ‘Supervising Trustee’ for student media, making it more transparent and separate from the role we play supporting them in their work.
  4. Replacing the old Student Opportunities Committee with a new Sports, Societies & Opportunities Executive with a wider remit, to increase transparency and give students more of a say over grant allocation for clubs and societies.

Democracy Review: Next Steps

Tue 26 Mar 2019

After speaking to loads of you last week about our five ideas to change our democratic structure, it's time for the next steps!

 
President's Update: Democracy Review

Fri 15 Mar 2019

President Clem Jones tells you more about the Democracy Review and how you can have your say on the proposed changes.

 
Blog: Supporting Democracy Review Proposals

Fri 15 Mar 2019

VP Societies & Media Holly Hughes and VP Sport Dom Brown on why they're supporting the proposal to merge the two roles into one.

 
 


Timeline.

Aug 2018

Project initiated

Sept 2018

Consultant appointed

Sep - Nov 2018

Staff, stakeholder and student focus groups

Oct - Nov 2018

Mass student consultation

Jan 2019

Initial findings

Feb 2019

Working groups

Mar 2019

Final proposals

Mar 2019

Second mass student consultation

May 2019

Referendum